A friend of mine recently got caught up in the idea of Minimalism. While I am very familiar with the philosophy in regards to art and design, after watching some of the videos he sent me, I soon learned that this is actually a lifestyle trend that seems to be gaining popularity in the Western World. With people either selling or giving away some or all of their material possessions, Minimalism is now a counter culture movement that I like to call a “neo-hippie” ideal.
For the record, while I love the idea of minimalism, I do not practice nor buy into the idea that your life’s happiness is dependent on how little or how many items you own, or that you should even want to minimize your entire life down to 51 items that fit into a single backpack…I do, however, believe that the evolution of technology has made the world a much different and, at times, confusing place to live in.
Our once “simple” world of family dinners, boardgames and nights spent listening to a transistor radio has now been replaced with take-out, Farmville and Digital OnDemand. We are a constantly moving, media crazed, A.D.D. society who’s only downtime is when we are passed out from sheer exhaustion. And the irony is: The more we seek to simplify our life through technology, the more complicated and convoluted it becomes.
Oddly enough, today’s frenzy of gadgets and schizophrenic media has actually forced Designers and Marketers to simplify the way they communicate. Today, the average person’s attention span is about 10 seconds or less, and it is for this simple reason that it is crucial to get eliminate the excess “fluff” and keep only what’s necessary in helping to convey our message in a fraction of a second.
While popularized in the early 2000’s by Apple’s marketing team, the idea of minimalism in relation to design is nothing new to the design world. In the early 1900’s German Designer, Lucian Bernhard developed the idea of Sachplakat (aka minimalist poster style), which was a revolutionary design concept that moved away from the artistic complexity of Art Nouveau; creating a more modern looking poster style which used a flat-colored object and bold iconic lettering to convey its message.
Regardless whether you are creating a newsletter, advertisement or Facebook post, I always tell people to “Keep It Simple.” Even though you might be paying $1000 for an ad space, doesn’t mean that you have to write an entire essay describing your business because the truth is, no one’s going to read it anyway. Rather, spend your time picking out the single most important thing you want people to know about you and/or your businesses. Then find a way to communicate that message in 10 words or less. That way, whether or not they spend more than 5 seconds on your marketing piece, at least you got your point across.
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